How to Grow African Violets and Encourage Blooms

These easy tips will help you to effortlessly grow violets and keep them healthy and blooming almost continuously!
Updated 7/2022

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Question: What does the average woman have in common with an African Violet?

Answer: We're both divas!

Now don't take that the wrong way, ladies! I just mean that we know what we like and we might just be a tad picky about what we like...

...and I am right there with you!

African Violets are little houseplant divas. You might think they're difficult to grow, but the reality is that when they get what they like, they are very happy and the results are beautiful, healthy, gorgeous African Violets that will bloom repeatedly with very little effort on your part.

I am by no means a green thumb! However, I have figured out two simple tricks for growing beautiful African Violet houseplants and want to share them with you. When you follow these tips, you'll have healthy violets that bloom almost continuously, with very little effort on your part!

How to grow African violets that bloom

I have successfully kept my African violets alive for over a decade following these tricks that I'll share with you today! They have survived two cross country moves and one of my violets just recently bloomed in our new home in Mississippi! If you follow these simple tips, your violets will thrive!

#1 Tip: Water

The first thing to know is that violets do not like to be watered from the top. They like to drink from their roots. They may want a drink one day but not the next...they like to decide when and how much they'll drink!

To accommodate these picky drinkers, they really prefer a proper African Violet pot...special pots just for them (I told you they were divas!). I had a large African Violet growing in one of these special pots and it more than doubled in size in about a year. The pots are made of two absorbent, pottery-like inner piece (which the violet is actually planted into) sitting inside of a glazed, decorative pot. You water it by lifting out the plant (ie: the inner pot) and pouring water into the outer pot and then setting the plant back down inside. The absorbent inner pot takes in water  as it needs so the violet never goes thirsty. This special pot also keeps the plant from drowning (as many of us plant lovers tend to over-water our house plants and literally 'love them to death'). Since first writing this post, I've found a great selection of nice African Violet pots on Amazon.

If you don't want to bother with the special African violet pot however, you can successfully grow violets in regular pots, read below.

Update: my African violet pot broke and I had to repot my violet into a regular terra cotta pot (I actually divided the plant because it was damaged from the pot falling onto the floor). I water from the base of the plant once a week. Any water that sits in the saucer gets emptied out after 30 minutes. The plants are healthy but I do notice that they grow slower than when they were in the special pots! So just something to keep in mind!

Here's a terrible older phone pic of my original violet in the violet pot, which you can't even see because the plant is so big!

I think the reason my smaller violet hasn't grown any bigger is that it's still in its original pot from Home Depot. I've been lazy and haven't found a proper pot for it yet. Seeing how big my other one has grown has motivated me to do it soon though!

#2 Tip: Light

The second thing you must know if you want your African violets to bloom is their light preferences. They are very finicky about how much they get and when they get it (divas, I told you!). You just need to remember a couple of important things if you want them to bloom repeatedly:
  •  when they have no flowers, they love being in the spotlight (ie: bright, sunny window)
  •  once they have flower buds, they get a little shy and want to be moved to a location with filtered light

That's it. Seriously.

If you can remember to water them from the bottom only, and to keep them in a sunny window until you see flower buds forming, I can almost guarantee that your African Violets will be blooming for you on a regular basis too!

Obviously, regular plant care is important too. I regularly prune any dry or shriveled leaves from the base of the violet, add additional soil when needed, and repot when either the plant has obviously outgrown the pot or in the case of this violet, the roots are becoming exposed.

Moving it to a larger pot means it's getting more soil to cover the rootball and it has more room to grow, overall just a healthier scenario.

These are such beautiful little houseplants and so easy to grow when you know these simple little tricks! Of course, houseplants like to be fed too. I use Schultz 10-15-10 concentrated Plant Food that is good for all your houseplants (just 7 drops per quart is all you need). You drip this into the water, not the soil!

If you've previously been intimidated by growing African Violets, I hope you'll give them a chance!! Try my tricks and come back and let me know how they worked for you!

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  1. I've had trouble with African Violets. I may just have to give them another try with your tips!

    1. I hope you will, I've had success for over a decade and I would say that I don't have a green thumb! Good luck :)

  2. My great aunts had a special table in their living room for their African Violets. I remember loving the feel of their fuzzy leaves when I went to visit. Thanks for the memory and for inspiring me to have these lovely plants in my home. Pinning!
    ~ Ashley

    1. My mom always had them, and I loved them as a little girl too! Thanks for the Pin :)

    2. Where can I get a book or catalogs that I can order from

  3. I love them, but I never can seem to get them to bloom a second time. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Oh, you need to try my tips! Sometimes it will be awhile before they'll bloom again...just keep them in a sunny location and remember to water and feed (from the bottom). Good luck :)

  4. Do you add the liquid fertilizer to the bottom of the plant as well? Will it get absorbed? I tried it once and the fertilizer cristalized on the inner part of the I was afraid to do this again.

    1. I don't know if you'll see this but the liquid fertilizer is not added to the water! I dilute and pour on the soil, try not to touch the leaves with it!

  5. I used to have a fabulous African violet when I lived in the UK. It flowered almost constantly even though it wasn't in light (in a tiny bathroom) but I watered it from the bottom & also fed it with liquid fertilizer that I diluted in the watering liquid. The roots will then absorb the fertilizer gradually, just as it's drinking normally. This will stop it from getting a heavy food shock .. (a little like us after a huge Christmas dinner) ... The fertilier crystalizing sounds as though it may be getting too much fertilizer in a single dose. Often people think that more is better ... but this isn't always the case.
    Thanks for reminding me about the African Violets ... I must invest in some more now that I'm back here in Oz. I think I have the perfect spot for them ... but please wish me luck anyway. :)
    Cheers & thanks again .. Wendy from Oz.

    1. Thanks for your comment Wendy, good luck growing your violets!

  6. When you say to put these in a sunny window when there are no flowers, are you talking about direct sun?

    1. Yes when you are trying to encourage flowering, direct sun is fine! Just make sure they always have water and as soon as you see buds, move them to filtered light.

  7. Hi! I have been growing violets for years, 30+. An East window is best, they thrive in morning sun. A West window is a killer. South would be the next best direction for them. I used to use a liquid plant food, VF-11, in the reservoir pot, of a violet pot, all of the time. That plant food is also perfect for orchids, which also thrive in an East facing window. Morning sun is best for both. Actually that plant food, VF-11, is perfect for all plants. I have not found it here in Texas. My violets bloomed almost continually! And my orchids rebloomed often with proper watering. They are as easy to grow as violets! We’ve recently moved from California to Texas. Unfortunately I don’t have an east facing window. I have my plants in a south facing window hoping they will adjust.


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